Apple will reinvent television

“There is re-invigorated conversation around Apple and its Apple TV efforts in light of Steve Jobs’s comments to Walter Isaacson that he has finally cracked the TV interface,” Ben Bajarin writes for Tech.pinions. “And now again with recent Wall St Analysts voicing their conviction that 2012 will be the year of Apple TV. We all know Apple wants a play in the television arena. Apple TV is still a hobby to them but at some point in time Apple TV will become a business and a healthy one at that.”

“Much of what is happening around the web, and with other pundits, feels very similar to the time prior to Apple launching the first iPhone and fundamentally re-inventing the smartphone,” Bajarin writes. “In fact my father provided the media with a quote about the first iPhone that circulated widely. Rather than call Apple’s first iPhone a smartphone he called it a ‘brilliant phone’ (see: Analyst: Apple iPhone should be given its own category – ‘brilliant phone’ – January 9, 2007)… In the year leading up to the first launch there were mockups, hype, rumors, speculation, skepticism, optimism, and then one day it was unveiled and none of the hype could do it justice. It helped us re-imagine what a pocket computer should be and I would argue Apple continues to do so with each new iPhone.”

Bajarin writes, “Predicting exactly what the disruptor is proves more difficult than knowing which areas of the industry are ripe for disruption. Television is ripe for disruption and I believe Apple will be the one to do it. So rather than predict how, I would rather point out where some of the opportunities may lie… Re-inventing the TV experience has to be more than just TV programming. Re-inventing the TV will require turning the TV into a platform to deliver rich content, new software, interactive programming and more. The opportunity is to turn the TV into a “platform” similarly the way PCs, smartphones, and tablets are platforms… In time Apple will not just show us a smart TV they will show us a brilliant TV and in the process re-invent TV.”

Much more in the full article here.

55 Comments

  1. I am 100% skeptical that Apple can / will come out with a full TV set and that it will be successful.

    I love Apple and aapl but I just don’t believe even Apple can be successful (units and profits) in the TV biz.

    1. Andy Inahtko has already talked about this, and he’s very insightful… People don’t swap out TV’s much. They just don’t. It makes more sense to just do a little cable box (current Apple TV)… I know Apple will work out all the kinks, I just don’t know what the value proposition is on an Apple Cinema Display with built in iOS box.

        1. I’ll match my Mensa card with yours any day, bot . . . and there is plenty of TV well worth watching. (Don’t look now but your magisterial hubris is showing.)

          1. Please don’t use the ‘mensa’ card – it’s not an argument – all those guys on wall street and big banks have mensa cards too, and look what they did, and are doing. If you ask those guys who was to blame for the depression, no one was including them. Of course, we will never hear ‘I made a mistake, I did things wrong’ from anybody who actually caused the mess.

    1. You know what’s funny about that?
      More and more people are switching to mobile computers (laptops)… which leaves the iMac in a very strange lonely position.

      How about this… everyone.. .for your computing needs.. just get a laptop… for your TV watching needs.. get an iMac.

      Imagine gutting the iMac, dropping a DVD/Blueray player in there.. and an iOS chipset. Start with 20″ 30″ and 40″ screens.

      1. Who watches TV on a 20″ these days? I came to DC thinking I didn’t really need a TV, but I broke down and bought a 12″ B&W portable for my then small apartment. Then a 19″ color. Then a 27″, and later another 27″. Now I’m using a 42″ plasma (720p sadly). Yeah, I could take my 20″ LCD monitor and feed it from a set-top box to watch TV, but I wouldn’t enjoy it.

  2. I sure hope they can do something. Right now, the UI for satellite and cable set top boxes is freaking terrible. Slow, cumbersome, hard to find shit, just an overall pain in the ass. If they can manage to replace that, I’m all in, and anything else above that (apps, iTunes, etc.) is gravy.

    1. I agree. I was just talking to a friend of mine about how awful the UI on cable is. He said that he liked it just fine. I replied that if he was satisfied with THAT, then there was no hope for him. The saddest part of that story is that he owns an Apple TV, so he knows how much better it can be.

  3. Apple will be skinned alive, boiled and roasted, and eaten for lunch if it enters the TV market. How many $99 Apple TVs have been sold? Apple won’t release figures but I’m betting on 2 million. That’s a $99 box. How many will Apple sell for $1,500? Probably PlayBook numbers…150,000 over 8 months…with a $800 million write down in inventory, every quarter…

      1. Me too. I making a wild guess here in that what Apple comes out with it will be spectacular. With all of their cash they can afford to do something especially ….One More Thing.

        1. Not just one…I’ve been examining some of the patent filings that Apple is using to paper the path to the future…they seem to be mining the literature of Science Fiction for ideas.

    1. To the majority of people, Apple TV has no clear mission. It’s a little of this and that. Pretty cool for the $99 bucks, but still a hobby-level product. Most people have a difficult time describing what Apple TV brings to the table. I don’t believe Apple expected it to sell like gangbusters — but it engaged them in the game and the industry — and I think it has earned them points.

      You cannot compare Apple TV to a potential iTV. Very different beasts. I’m betting that iTV — be it a TV or a box — will be a focused product that consumers can wrap their heads around. At which point — if we’re lucky enough to witness a game-changing product — kaboom.

    2. You are absolutely right there’s a price point where consumers is willing to pay for a product. Look at the Mac’s, it’s not a runaway success in term of volumn but they are making money. TV business has been saturated to a point there’s one in every living room where little profits is being made.

  4. I don’t care how well Apple TV will hear my voice commands, it comes down to one thing…

    content, content, content

    Apple has announce commitments from content providers that finally breaks the cable monopoly. That’s it will get really disruptive.

    1. I think, in terms of content, live sports is over looked… not just live sports, but live sports free of black out restrictions. Perhaps live (and maybe even local) news. TV shows seem easy enough to do (Hulu, Netflix, iTunes, etc all have this) but the live events are what seem to keep a lot of people tied to cable.

  5. If they think that a Siri controlled TV will be a good idea then they’re idiots.

    You’ll still need an external box for the bulk of content, and you’ll still need a remote for that service. Accordingly the only controls you’d use on a regular basis are the volume and changing inputs. Not a huge amount Apple can do to improve that.

    Beyond styling, the only thing they can really do without access to all content is to add a better quality display. Other companies could have done that but even with better quality choices now people tend to buy the biggest/cheapest screen they can (or can’t) afford. Just having Apple on it is unlikely to make people spend more.

    On the interface side, having something built into the display won’t make it work any better than the existing Apple TV could.

    Personally I think the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch and Airplay are Apple’s way in. Make the tv just like a monitor for your iOS device.

    1. I agree with the comment that inroads of iOS devices provide for ease to looking at the tv as a simple monitor. This porting of ios maybe the more immediate apple tv response by incorporating games, apps, etc to take market share from wii and redefine social gaming.

      As far as Siri controlled TV, I’ve obviously never used one, so the jury is still out. I thought Jobs was crazy for not including a tactile keyboard on the iPhone having come from a blackberry yet now I can hardly remember using one.

      Display quality will have only relative additive value in the minds of consumers given that standards of HD are much higher relative to just 2 years ago and studies show most consumers cannot consistently dicern between 720p and 1080i programming.

      If a new tv does make its way out of Apple expect huge loyalty from apple users yet without live events (sports and news content) it’s just a cooler connected device.

      If you want a game changer then Iger (Disney) should license ESPN for IP delivery without a cable contract. He sits on the apple board and outside of conflict of interest, apple had the deep pockets to make ESPN think twice about protecting per sub cable revenue and do something truly revolutionary.

  6. It’s more like when AAPL took over the mp3 market. Margins were small. But AAPL dominated and thrived because, concurrently, they developed iTunes. To be successful, and I think they can be, AAPL must develop “iTV”, a cable-TV killer, while it revolutionizes the television itself.

  7. Somehow with all that has gone on, I keep thinking Apple has to enter the high speed bandwidth market somehow to enable all its equipment and software to be ubiquitous.

    I’m not going to guess how, but I will not be surprised with the cash they have on hand and the opening in the last large consumer electronic hardware market looking just like it did in the 1990s.

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